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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

TEE IMPERIAL SABLES,                                             29

is a striking illustration of the. low estate to which the great Hindu city had
been reduced at the time in question.* Again, the place with the Muhammadan
tombs is not Akbar-pur, but the next Tillage, Dotana, ; and the large saraes at
Kosi and Chhata are both omitted.

These saraes are fine fort-like buildings, with massive battlcmented walls
and bastions and high-arched gateways. They are five in number: one at the
entrance to the civil station; the second at 'Azamah&d, two miles beyond the
city on the Delhi road ; another at Chaumnha ; the fourth at Chhata,, and the
fifth at Kosi. The first, which is smaller than the others and has been much
modernized,! has for many years past been occupied Ly the police reserve, and
Is ordinarily called 4 the Damdama.' The three latter are generally ascribed by
local tradition to Sher Sh&h, whose reign extended from 1540 to 1545, though
It is also said that Itibar Khan was the name of the founder of the two at
Mathura and Kosi, and A'saf Khan of the one at Chhata. It is probable that
both traditions are based on facts : for at Chhata it is obvious at a glance that
both the gateways are double buildings, half dating from one period and half
from another. The Inner front, which is plain and heavy, may be referred to
Sher Shah, while the lighter and more elaborate stone front, looking towards
the town, is a subsequent addition. As A'saf Khan is simply a title of honour
(the * Asaph the Recorder* of the Old Testament) which was borne by several
persons In succession, a little doubt arises at first as to the precise individual
intended. The presumption, however, is strongly in favour of Abd-nl-majid,
who was first Humaynn's Diwan, and on Akhar's accession was appointed
Governor of Delhi. The same post was held later on by Khwaja Itibar KMn,
ifce reputed founder of the Kosi sarae. The general style of architecture is In
exact conformity with that of similar buildings known to have been erected in
Akbar's reign, such, for example,. as the fort of Agra. The ChaurauM saraet

* Similarly^ it will he seen that Tavernier, writing about 1650, recognizes Mathura as the
a temple only, not of a town at all.

f A range of raulted chambers flanking the central gateway were pulled down "by the Pub-
lic Works Department in 18769 to make way for some modem buildings Intended to answer
the same purpose, but necessarily of much less substantial construction. The old cells had
"been rendered unsightly hy the mud vails with which the arches had been closed ; but these
excrescences could all hare been cleared away at very slight expense.
% Chaumuha is distorted fey Tieffenthaler into Tschaomao.   He speaks of its sarie m
* hotellerie belle et commode*"
8